Riding Lawn Mower Reviews & Top Rated Lawn Tractors

Best Riding Lawn Mower

The Mow Master here at Mow Dojo wishes to teach you about the best riding lawn mowers. While rigorous training and discipline will be required to be like the Mow Master himself, the best tools for the job are absolutely essential.

Riding lawn mowers can make quick work of your four-hour job mowing your lawn. Lawn maintenance is often overlooked by many folks who have fallen in love with a large property that has several acres to mow. This is where they usually begin questioning the mowers that will work best for their property.

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These mowers are best for big properties as well as for homeowners who have grown to fear pushing a heavy gas mower all the way across their property. But if you do require a push mower, the Mow Master has you covered too.  Choosing the correct mower for your personality and your property can be tricky. Riding lawn mowers are usually considered a step up from your standard walk-behind mowers, granting you the power to cruise control your mowing machine around your property like it’s a small ATV or car.

Riding Mower and Lawn Tractor

A riding mower is the most versatile piece of mowing equipment when it comes to design, stats, and features. But you will need help choosing the best lawn tractor to suit your lawn.

Here, the Mow Master will show you the best 10 riding lawn mowers to transform you from a mere lawn grasshopper into an accomplished Sensei of the Mow Dojo. Whether a John Deere riding mower, riding mowers with a high-back seat, or just a riding mower that will give you the best lawn in the neighborhood, we have all of the choices to pick from.

Much like choosing a car, there are many different features to compare. We hope that this list gives you an idea of what factors go into choosing the right riding lawn mower for your yard.

In reviewing the best riding lawn mowers, we will show you…

  • Performance stats and power
  • Features that make mowers unique
  • Design attributes (beyond John Deere yellow & green)
  • Mow Master’s comments and ratings!

The following is a compiled list of Mow Master’s best lawn tractors for 2020. If you are prepared to embark on your journey to become the best mow master yourself, then read on to discover the best ride on mowers for you and your yard.

The 10 Best Riding Lawn Mowers for the Money in 2020

Husqvarna is a regularly featured brand on the Mow Master’s list of best mowers. Once again, they grace us with their YTH18542 Yard Tractor. A sleek, user-friendly lawn tractor, this mower will equip you to handle a large yard as breezily as if you were driving your own car. It’s packed with features and built tough, ensuring that it will last you for years to come. With an 18.5 HP Briggs & Stratton engine, an auto-choke feature, and wicked fast hydrostatic automatic transmission, this riding lawn mower requires little maintenance in exchange for the hard work it will put into your yard.

The 42” cutting deck comes armed with twin sheets of 13 gauge steel, cast iron axles, and a formidable chassis. Its rear differential feature will make it simple to mow wet or high grass or climb hills in the yard. The wheels are designed to prevent causing any damage to your lawn and leave John Deere in the dust. With an ergonomic design and high-back seat, you won’t even feel bad about sitting down to mow the lawn. This tractor will allow you to comfortably traverse your yard and make quick work of the grass. The electric cutting blade engagement switch and fender-mounted deck lever have you covered with all the control you could possibly need.

Why It’s Great

  • Easy maneuverability with foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission
  • 18.5 hp Briggs & Stratton® Intek engine is a powerhouse performer
  • Super-tight 16 in. turning radius allows you to easily navigate around objects
  • Included 3-year bumper-to-bumper warranty ensures you are covered
The Mow Master says,

“The Husqvarna YTH18542 Yard Tractor makes the rider of the mower into a silent ninja, able to quickly and nimbly navigate around any and all objects in its way. Learning to be agile and precise is a key to becoming a mowing master…”.

Next on the list is the Craftsman R105 Riding Lawn Mower, which is the best fit for any size of the yard. Small riding lawn mowers like this one fuse the benefits of small machine size with a high-powered grass cutting build. This one is easy to store in your shop area or shed. But don’t let this riding mower size and weight fool you — it boasts a powerful 382 cc gas engine that is highly capable of slicing through the grass on even the biggest of residential lawns.

As a result, you are equipped with a model of riding lawn mower that makes an ideal choice for a more moderate-sized yard and cutting job. While the Craftsman R105 Riding Lawn Mower may not offer any revolutionary features, it does include a deck wash which can save the rider plenty of time in cleaning off the cutting deck.

Click here to read more about the Craftsman R105 Riding Lawn Mower.

Why It’s Great

  • Tight 18-in turning radius
  • 6-speed transmission for variable inclines
  • Included mulching kit returns nutrients to the soil and ensures lawn stays healthy
  • Two-year warranty from Craftsman, the manufacturer


The Mow Master says,

“The Craftsman 5102 Riding Lawn Mower is the ideal choice for the aspiring young mower in training… while it is not the biggest and brightest mower in the world, it comes at an excellent price with loads of value for homeowners and lawn-scapers who have a moderately large sized yard to care for.”

As an additional option for those with medium to large-sized yards, the Mow Master recommends the Troy-Bilt 382cc Riding Lawn Mower. One of the more shining options featured on our list, this mowing tractor is the “peanut butter and chocolate” sort of combination that slams together all the normal benefits of a standard rider mower with the compact size of a walk-behind gas model, which many aspiring mower riders are more accustomed to.  Armed with a durable 382cc, 6-speed, auto-choke OHV engine, it is capable of speeds all the way up to 4.25 MPH… which, in the Mow Master’s own words, is “Quicker than a thief in the night.” 

And of course, you are able to select the ideal cutting height for your grass, courtesy of the Troy-Bilt’s 5-position cutting height options. One of the more comfortable mowers on our list, Troy-Bilt thought ahead in designing their 382cc mower with a fully adjustable seat that raises all the way up to your mid-back for support, and also comes with a thick, soft grip 13” steering wheel. To ensure the utmost durability, the Troy-Bilt was also designed with a 14-gauge cutting deck as well as a tight 18” turning radius that will enable you to maneuver just like you would with a traditional walk-behind lawn mower.

Click to learn more about the Troy-Bilt 382cc Riding Lawn Mower.

Why It’s Great

  • Its smaller size makes it easy to fit through tight spaces and easy to store
  • Autochoke, 382cc single-cylinder OHV Troy-Bilt engine makes it easy to start
  • 30 in. cutting deck includes a mulch kit as well as 5 options for grass cut height
  • 1.3 Gal fuel tank with a fuel sight window, so you always know your gas level
The Mow Master says,

“The Troy-Bilt 382cc Riding Lawn mower is a compact and impressive machine… it’s size makes no compromise in the power output and flexibility of its mowing features.”

Greatness deserves recognition. Consequentially, Husqvarna once again appears on our list for the top riding lawn mowers in 2020 with their other mode, the Husqvarna YTA24V48. You will be hard-pressed to drive this mower past its limit. A true powerhouse that lives up to Husqvarna’s reputation for durable, high-performance landscaping equipment.

Highly flexible, strong, and capable of seamless mowing results, it is one of the Mow Master’s favorite grass-cutting tools on this list. Armed with a 24HP Briggs & Stratton Intek 2 cylinder engine, it stacks up as one of the most powerful mowers that occur on our list.  Offering the performance that you would expect from a premium mower, it features a pedal-controlled transmission and a choke-less start that wastes less power in actual driving and allocates that energy to the job of cutting your lawn.

One of the few mowers on the Mow Master’s list that features air induction, the induction boosts airflow allowing for a very consistent cut with no uneven corners and varying heights. All of the options for tailoring the perfect cut for your yard are right here at your fingertips. With an adjustable seat and a standard lineup of ergonomics, Husqvarna knows how to make mowing the grass easy as driving a golf cart from hole to hole at the local golf course.

When you couple this with the versatile array of Husqvarna accessories for mulching, snow removal, and towing, it isn’t hard to see why the YTA24V48 is one of the Mow Master’s favorites on this list. 

His Dojo receives a lot of snow in the winter, after all…

See more information on Husqvarna YTA24V48.

Why It’s Great

  • 24 HP blistering fast engine
  • Pedal-controlled transmission
  • 48” steel-reinforced cutting deck
  • Ability to leverage Husqvarna’s complete line of accessories for mulching, towing, snow removal, and more
The Mow Master says,

“The Husqvarna YTA24V48 has saved me many times from a tough season of snow at the dojo… it is imperative that the dojo stay accessible and well-maintained. The Husqvarna is able to handle all of my mowing challenges.”

A newcomer brand to this list, Poulan earns a spot with their Poulan Pro PB20VA46. When the company began in 1944, their line of mowers provided reliable performance and power, with this model, in particular, being their paragon of innovation. One of the best riding models in its class today, this model comes equipped with a 20HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton engine that makes powering up and controlling your transmission a breeze. 

Truly powerful and highly maneuverable, Poulan shows you what it is like to glide across your grass with the grace of an eagle. Its 46” reinforced cutting deck also makes it a cinch to execute wide passes on your lawn, which translates to a faster operation that gets your job done in record time. The tight 16” turning radius also means that you won’t get snagged on any unique obstacles in your yard.

The 20” rear and 15” front tires handle tough terrain exceptionally well, and the built-in headlights will make sure that you can hammer out your lawn work early in the morning, or have a moonlight mow (as long as your neighbors don’t squawk about it). 

Finally, Poulan has you covered with ergonomic features too. Their 13” mid-back seat and “comfort-grip” steering wheel make sure that you will be ridin’ easy.

See more information on Poulan Pro 960420170.

Why It’s Great

  • Fast automatic shifting with the 20HP Briggs & Stratton engine
  • Broad cuts with the 46” reinforced cutting deck
  • Standard turning radius of 16”
  • Highly responsive steering
The Mow Master says,

“Steering the Poulan Pro 960420170 makes the Mow Master feel very in-control of his mow. However, one must remember that all control is an illusion… free yourself to the mower…”

Cub Cadet joins our lineup of top riding lawn mowers in 2020 with the wonderful XT1 Enduro Series Kohler Hydrostatic Riding Mower. The power that you’re gaining access to actually comes at quite an affordable price, while still driving home an impressive performance and a super-smooth hydrostatic transmission that takes the tedious task of shifting gears entirely off of the table.

The 18HB Kohler OHV engine and cutting deck of 42” makes it a very well-rounded mower on the Mow Master’s list with a consistent, precise cut for your grass every single mow. The traction that the rear wheel drive grants you coupled with the 16” turning radius makes it a nimble mower for traversing some of the more nuanced nooks and crannies of your yard.

If you want to lower or raise the cutting deck to get that perfect grass height, it’s quite simple thanks to the adjustable lever mounted to the front fender. There is also a handy push-button cruise control which will free up your mental bandwidth to focus more on cutting the yard rather than selecting the best speed. Cub Cadet really outdid themselves with this model, with a comfortable and adjustable seat, soft-grip steering wheel, and get this — even a cup holder for the aspiring mow ninja who enjoys a cold brew during his mow. However, the Mow Master cautions you that it can be dangerous to be intoxicated during your mow!

Lastly, enjoy the Cub Cadet’s built-in headlights that guarantee you will be able to mow your lawn on YOUR time, day or night.

Click here for more facts on the Cub Cadet Xt1 Enduro Series.

Why It’s Great

  • Cup holder for the thirsty operator on the go
  • 18HP engine with plenty of firepower
  • Easy to adjust cutting deck for the perfect grass height
  • Affordable, considering the power output
The Mow Master says,

“Many a night, the Mow Master has needed to trim the yard after a long day of training. The Cub Cadet’s headlights keep the yard lit, and its handy cup holder allows Mow Master to bring his green tea out on the job. It is a serene machine.”

Don’t let the numbers confuse you, the Poulan Pro 960420192 is a fundamentally different mower than the 960420170.

It happens to be one of the most accessible-priced riding mowers on the market. This Poulan Pro 15.5 HP Rider may have a slightly slower engine than the others, but make no mistake — it is one of the highest-ranking options out there.

Powerful for its size, it earned a spot on our list for its ability to consistently perform, hold up under tough usage, and include features that are usually gated by some of the more expensive models on the market. The 15.5 HP Briggs & Stratton single-cylinder engine and 42” reinforced cutting deck makes the Poulan mower a force to be reckoned with that can easily handle large properties and get you back inside by supper.

Another model here that features a hydrostatic transmission, you will be able to easily toggle speeds with the simple flick of the lever mounted to the fender. Its oscillating front axle with a wickedly tight 6” turning radius guarantees you safe passage through rough terrain, and makes tight trimming into a breeze.

The 6-position cutting height feature enables you a convenient adjustment of the cutting deck to get that wonderful California grass look. And if you decide to purchase the optional mulching kit, you will have access to a highly flexible grass-cutting machine for barely over $1,000.

Why It’s Great

  • Great value for what you are getting
  • Adjustable cutting deck for any type of cut you like
  • One of the tightest turning radiuses on the list
  • Hydrostatic automatic transmission makes shifting a thing of the past
The Mow Master says,

“The Mow Master knows how to appreciate a good deal when he sees one. This version of the Poulan Pro is a great value for the power it supplies. Hydrostatic transmission makes it easy to traverse the slopes of my dojo’s courtyard.”

Don’t be deceived by its lower position on the Mow Master’s list, this may in fact be one of the best riding lawn mowers that you could possibly own.

Husqvarna is known for their incredible high-quality lawn mowers, and are accredited as a true authority in the landscaping industry… and they also earn the Mow Master’s official seal of approval. This Z254 Zero Turn lawn mower is their latest innovation in their zero-turn riding series. It truly could be the best zero turn mower in 2020. Consequently, it earns glorious recognition on the Mow Master’s list of the top riding lawn mowers in 2020.

With the ability to deliver premium performance and overdrive power in a compact, dare we say sexy design, the Z254 makes mowing your lawn into a thrill rather than a chore. The 12 gauge steel cutting deck is an impressive 54”, and makes even the largest yards into a quick job. But Husqvarna is just getting warmed up — because they’ve also equipped this lawn tractor with the 26 HP Kohler 7000 series engine with premium air filtering capabilities, an ample sized cooling fan, and chrome plated valves. 

Truly, their mowers were designed to be every bit as durable as it is powerful. The maintenance-free, zero-turning transmission means that you won’t have to focus your attention on taking care of this mowing tractor. It is independent enough to handle that on its own!

With impressive features like the front and rear bumpers as well as integrated headlights, auto-parking brake, and anti-scalp rollers, you’ll have a reliable mower that represents Husqvarna at the top of their game.

Click to learn more facts.

Why It’s Great

  • Best in class with zero-turn riding capabilities
  • High powered 26 HP Kohler 7000 engine
  • Zero-Turn transmission makes maintenance a thing of the past
  • Cutting deck equipped with 54” reinforced steel
The Mow Master says,

“Even the Mow Master, humble as he is, enjoys having a bit of flashiness to his mower. It makes it all the better when the Z254 also has the power and reliability to justify the purchase. If money is no object, consider purchasing this lawn mower and it may be the last mower you ever need to purchase.”

Husqvarna is regularly being featured on the Mow Master’s list due to its consistent quality and dedication to building great products. This YTH24V54 Garden Tractor is one of the best riding mowers available in 2020 due to the sturdy craftsmanship, high power output and performance, and customizable features.

With the 54” cutting deck buttressing the strength of the mower, you should be able to cut down your enormous yard in jig time, compared to some of the smaller models featured on our lists. You will be able to suspend your worries about maintaining the optimal speed and spend your time focusing on maneuvering this sleek mower across your property.

Husqvarna also included a fender-mounted cutting height mechanism which makes it easy for you to get that perfect grass cut. The built-in headlights also make it simple to get your mowing work done before the crack of dawn, or after nightfall. And as you know by now, Husqvarna has a myriad of accessories that can attach to any of their riding mowers, making this a powerful lawn tractor that can do just about anything that John Deere can.

Why It’s Great

  • 24HP V-Twin engine gives you big firepower
  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • High-back seat
  • The super-wide deck at whopping 54”
  • Cruise control lets you focus on steering, not speeding
The Mow Master says,

“The Husqvarna YTH24V54 is the mow master’s favorite mower when it comes to having an active meditation during the mow… cruise control makes it easy to focus on becoming one with the yard and moving at a consistent pace. A great option for a big yard!”

The Poulan Pro P46ZX Briggs V-Twin closes out our list on the top mowers on the market. This machine is a true warrior in the yard, designed to deliver formidable performance and reliability while not sacrificing the easy of maneuverability. Propelled by the super-juiced 22 HP Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Pro engine, it certainly is the one of the best riding mowers, even if you’re dealing with an uneven landscape.

The stamped steel-reinforced deck comes in at 46” and holds tight on the durability while still granting you the power to mow enormous lawns in fewer passes. And being a member of the Poulan Pro ZTR family, it comes equipped with a zero-turn radius. You can turn these mowers on a dime with little worry about any obstacles that stand in your way.

Click here for more facts about the Poulan Pro P46ZX Briggs V-Twin.

Why It’s Great

  • That signature Poulan zero-turn radius
  • Dual hydro-gear EZT drive system
  • Spry 22 HP Briggs and Stratton V-Twin engine under the hood
  • Easy to adjust the cutting deck
The Mow Master says,

“Poulan Pro garners much respect from the Mow Master… they make a quality mower that does many of the things that Husqvarna and their best mowers do. The key difference is that there are less options for customizable accessories.

Overall, an excellent riding mower for the aspiring student in the art of mow.”

What is the Best Residential Riding Mower?

You may want to consider the Husqvarna Z254 26 HP 54” Zero Turn Mower. It’s zero-turn performance at its best, developed by the reliable folks at Husqvarna. It comes rocking a supercharged 26 HP Kohler 7000 Series engine enabling amazing lawn tractor power time and time again. You should also consider our comparison between lawn tractor vs garden tractor to make sure you understand the difference! The super-sturdy 54” cutting deck will greatly reduce the amount of cutting time spent in a large yard. While the large cutting deck may not be necessary or ideal for smaller yards, this lawn tractor certainly makes a lasting impression with the wide swathes it will carve into your overgrown property.

And wideness of the cutting blade and power aside, the zero-turn technology makes it quite nimble. This Husqvarna mower can navigate tight nooks and crannies, making it a superior option for yards with trees or other objects that stand in your way. The Z254 is Husqvarna’s best option for an incredibly easy and comfortable mowing experience. With all of the ergonomic options in reach from a simple control panel, the once exhausting task of mowing becomes something you may even look forward to. Delivering intense firepower, graceful performance, and undeniable results, the Z254 shows you that it is one of the best user-friendly riding mowers available other than conventional John Deere, if not one of the best buys on the riding mower market, period.

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